Where to buy Swiss Half-Fare card?

We are traveling by train from CT to Interlaken and then spending 4 full days in the area, mostly up in the Lauterbrunnen valley. After a lot of digging into train timetables on sbb.ch and determining costs and the different places we want to go, it appears that the Swiss Half-Fare Card is actually the winner for us. But the problem is that I can't find anything that tells me I can get this card outside of Switzerland. If true, then I can't use the card on my inbound train cost since I don't have it until I stop in Switzerland! Is there any way around this dilemma?
Thanks for help!

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Here you go, you can buy it on this site and have it delivered to the USA. On your inward journey, remember that it is only good from the first train station that the train actually stops at in Switzerland.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1584 posts

Looks like Jim meant to post a link to a site where you could buy the card, but it is not there. Try again? If that doesn't work, you could look on Trenitalia for a Smart Fare from Milan to Spiez. I think that is about 22 € so about as good as using a Half Fare card for the Swiss portion. Mthen you would by the card at Spiez and use it from there on.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6829 posts

Jim meant this very site (ricksteves.com). The card can be purchased by clicking the "railpasses" tab above.

Posted by Bryce
Woodinville, WA, USA
14 posts

Thanks Jim, but I didn't get the link. Could you please post it again?

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3064 posts

That's a very good question. I've contacted the Swiss Railways people in the past about several different questions, and they always have a timely and friendly response. I would go here
http://www.sbb.ch/en/meta/contact.html click on the TRAVELCARDS line, click on the SHOW FORM button and type my question there. Be sure to let us know the answer.

Posted by Bryce
Woodinville, WA, USA
14 posts

Thanks Tim, I'll do that. I appreciate your info. Actually I looked on RS website and they state there that I can only buy the half-fare card in Switzerland--there is no link to purchase on RS website.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Correct. You cannot buy a Half Fare Card on the RS website. Here is the information: "The Half-Fare Card for visitors gives you 50% off on all national and private trains (including Jungfraujoch), postal buses, city trams, lifts, and lake boats for about 110 SF ($120) a month. This can save you money if your Swiss travel adds up to more than $240 in point-to-point tickets. Buy it at your first Swiss train station." Note that th eprice is wrong. The Half Fare Card is now 120 CHF. In the past, the SwissTravelSystem website would sell and ship Half Fare Cards. I no longer see a link to purchase on that website. Nor does the third-party site SwissPasses.com (a UK website) sell them. So I think your best option is to do as Sasha suggested: get a Smart Fare ticket on th direct train from Milan to Spiez (or Brig if the timing works out better) and then buy the card when you get to Switzerland.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Here are the prices, which illustrate why the best and simplest thing is to buy an advance Smart Fare on Trenitalia: Milano Centrale to Brig: regular fare 36 euro; fare with Half-Fare Card 27 euro; Smart Fare 19 euro. Milano Centrale to Spiez: regular fare 62 euro; fare with Half-Fare Card 44 euro; Smart Fare 22 euro. Buy that now (unless you are trqvelin gafter June 8, as fares are not available after that date yet). Then buy the Half-Fare Card in Switzerland, at Spiez.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Sorry everyone, here is the link: Swiss Travel System And yes one of the shipping options is delivery to USA

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Jim, when we access that page in the US there is no "buy" option for the Half Fare Card. All the other Swiss pass options offered on this page (Swiss Card, Transfer Ticket, Swiss Pass, and Flexi Pass) have a red button to "Order now." But not the Half Fare Card: http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/home/tickets-en/ticket-overview.html (To get here from Jim's link, go to "Tickets" and choose "Ticket Overview."

Posted by Bryce
Woodinville, WA, USA
14 posts

Jim, Yes, that link works. Excellent! Looks like I will need to work the cost of US delivery into my math but still I think the Half-Fare Card may be the best option for us.
Thank you!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Yes, that link works. Thanks for your persistence, Jim!

Posted by Jeffrey
Voorheesville, New York, United States
23 posts

You can also buy it in advance from myswissalps.com